So you want to make a website but you don't know what to make it on? Lost for ideas or your idea already taken? Then hopefully my little piece here will help you. Thoughout this piece I will be reffering a lot towards Sound Upload (My most successful venture yet!)
Now, firstly you will need to brainstorm before you get anywhere else. So do your research online and find out what people like and don't like. With Sound Upload I found that people loved YouTube (because they could upload their own videos) and also Lyric websites were a big thing too - so I thought "Ah! Got it!". So I put down a YouTube site but instead of it being for videos, I changed it to audio files. Getting your ideas might be a bit harder, but don't worry. You can still use an idea that has already been taken - see when either Google, Yahoo or MSN come up with something new the other two take the idea too. Just remember though, if you're using an idea that has already been taken then add something totally new and different to it (this will attract loads of new people).
Secondly, once you have your idea and you know you'll stick to it, then get it developed. So start making the website for it, this can either be just a simple plain HTML based site which you can make in Adobe Dreamweaver or Microsoft Frontpage or if you're wanting something more bigger and dynamic (like what Sound Upload is like) then you'll need to do it in either ASP, PHP or Perl. Sound Upload uses PHP tied in nicely with a MySQL database back-end.
Getting It Online
Now you've planned the site and made the site, you will now need to put it up on the internet. So you will two things, hosting and a domain name. You can get domain names from GoDaddy and hosting from a few places like Crucial, Servage or HostGator. (Note: Don't do what I used to do when I was younger - and always wanted the 'unlimited' option. Only get that when you need the resources!) Now you've got your domain name and hosting (if you've got your domain name from somewhere else then you will need to assign it with your hostings DNS settings) you can now upload the website files - set up the database if that is needed on the site too. Hooray, your site is online.
Advertising / Promoting
This fourth step is probably the hardest part of all! I started Sound Upload on the 13th February 2007 (launching around 10pm-11pm) and since then (so just over a year and a half) I have just over 4,400 members and over 30,000 music files so the site is growing nicely because there isn't much out there for it. So promoting your site is a bit tricky, firstly I'd say if you've got any IM software (MSN, YIM, AIM, ICQ, etc...) tell everyone on it about the site, then do the same if you have a MySpace, Bebo, Netlog profile. This will give you the first few hits that you need to getting started. Also ask for feedback off your friends as that will help with getting more people (and don't get annoyed with them if they hate it). Forum signatures are a good place to advertise too, just placing a little link in there and then posting on forums will draw attention to the site too. Another free way of advertising is replying to popular blogs that allow you to enter your website address - this is a great way of getting visitors as blogging is a huge thing these days. Adding your website to directories can also help too but can be time consuming.
Your visitors are picking up (having 10 unique people a day is great for a newbie) and people know slightly about your website, now you can start earning money! Head over to Google's AdSense section and sign up, once you have signed up you will get access to a huge range of options for placing adverts on your site. Once you've got them on the site you will have to know that you will be looking at earning $0.00 - $0.01 a day for maybe the first few months, this is normal! Getting a dollar a day from Google AdSense is pretty good. (Sound Upload didn't end up earning a dollar a day until about 12 months after having adverts on the site) Each day I'm getting an average of $4 - $9 a day (which is enough to pay for hosting and also for me to buy goodies for myself). Along with Google AdSense some other good advertisers are AdBrite, TNX, Text-Link-Ads and BackLinks. One rule though, don't blockade your website with thousands of adverts as it puts people off.
Expanding your website is something that will keep the previous visitors coming back and also drawing new visitors onto your website. When you expand don't do thousands of things all at once... space them out, so add a new thing each week or couple of days. This will keep people coming back all the time.
I hope this has helped you in the right direction with several of the aspects when creating a new idea online. If you have any questions or comments then feel free to leave them below on the comment form.